Girls’ School Poetry Competition

June 15, 2018 at 3:58 PM

‘For me, writing poetry is pure pleasure. I love playing with the words until I find exactly the right ones to make the rhythm, form, tone and feeling all come together to work as a whole.’
Elena De Roo, Author

The Girls’ School has always had great strength in its speech and drama programme; building the girls talent and confidence to speak publicly with passion and great articulation. When this is added to another great academic strength, their ability to write creatively and with conviction, then you have a winning formula for the annual Poetry Competition! 

Written in class over the last few weeks, to ensure authenticity, all students from Year 0 to Year 8 have focussed on writing original poems as part of their English programme. These were initially presented as in-class performances from which the top poets from each Year level were selected to progress to the finals. 

The whole school, as well as parents and supporters, were in attendance, creating a pressure-filled public speaking atmosphere - not that it affected the finalists though! All of the students who took the stage delivered their self-penned poems with poise, in full voice and without the aid of any notes! 

The poems showed impressive observation and imagination and used the full repertoire of literary devices, from alliteration to onomatopoeia. The performances complemented the content, with the girls adjusting the volume, pace and tone of their voices to reflect the words. Winners were decided in Years 4-8 while the event gave the Year 1-3 girls an added opportunity to perform in front of a large audience. 

We were fortunate to welcome back Elena De Roo to adjudicate the competition. Ms De Roo has been writing for children since 2004, and has had a number of stories, poems, plays and readers published by educational publishers in New Zealand, Australia and the United States, and has also won a number of awards for her writing.   

Elena had the benefit of being able to read final poems ahead of the competition. She said, ‘The first thing I do is read the poem out loud, to hear how it sounds on my tongue, and see the rhythm the lines and words make. Then I look in more detail at the language and form, to see what is making the poem come together in the way it does. Then I go back and read it out loud again, looking at it as a whole and ask myself questions like: ‘Is the poem all working together? Do the title, the vocabulary, the rhythm, the imagery and the way it looks on the page all add to the poem and work together to build up to that last line? Has it evoked some reaction in me, connected with me in some way? Have I laughed or been entertained, or made to feel some other emotion -- sadness, wonder, anger? Or have I seen something ordinary perhaps, in a new light, a different way?’ 

Whilst she judged the written poems ahead of time, she said that a great poem on the page needs to be matched with a convincing and entertaining presentation - complete package. 

Sasha Newland’s description of building an ice cream sundae won the Year 4 section with Emily Cornaga’s vivid presentation of ‘The Storm’ winning Year 5. In Year 6, Zambezi Butler’s transported us back to warmer months with ‘A Summer Swim.’ 

The Year 7 and 8 performances were particularly powerful with Tiana Gray’s plea for the earth ‘Who is Listening’ winning Year 7 and Jade Nomani’s vivid description of a refugee camp, ‘I Look upon the World’ taking top honours for Year 8. 

In closing the morning, Principal Ms Juliet Small said, ‘I could not have been more proud this morning.’ She acknowledged that writing poetry is not an easy task, ‘but you made it seem so effortless! Well done girls!’ 

Our sincere thanks to Ms De Roo for her time and to Year 8 students, Zoe Wong and Hazel Reid for acting as MCs for the morning. 


Sascha Newland              Ice Cream Sundae
Jeanna Ho                          Tall Tree
Amelia Paterson               Popsicle              

Emily Cornaga                  The Storm
Catherine Fowler              The Storm
Isabel Gilbert                     The Black Hole
Poppy Healzewood          The Storm
Lily Hu                              Coming to New Zealand 

Zambezi Butler                 A Summer Swim
Isabella Hayes                   Autumn Treats
Sophie Yan                         The Chocolate Celebration 

Tiana Gray                          Who is listening?
Keeley Berkovits                 My World was Torn
Xarya Knox                          Change is Flourishing
Sophia Mercer                    We Need Help
Anamia Rangihaeata          We are Maori 

Jade Nomani           I look upon the World
Arya Blackler              Syria’s Colour Palette
Danielle Levy             Imprisoned
Millie Paris                 1942
Katherine Thibaud       Urbanisation        

Non- Competitive Poems

Year 1 Poems 
Lulu Lang, Emily Albrecht, Elsa Taylor and Monica Qian

Year 2 Poems
Kasey Wray, Bella Guthrie, Elise Andrew and Ninsi Finn

Year 3 Poems
Holly Carnegie, Channelle Huang, Lillian Tang


Click here to read Year 4 poem - Ice Cream Sundae 

Click here to read Year 5 poem - The Storm

Click here to read Year 6 poem - A Summer Swim 

Click here to read Year 7 poem - Who is listening?

Click here to read Year 8 poem - I Look Upon the World


Click here to view gallery

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